NTSB: Navy Will Find Sunken Ship, Locate Key Data Recorder

PHOTO COUTESY : MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME ACADEMY Photo of Keith Griffin, 33, a 2005 graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay. Griffin is among 33 crew members on board a cargo ship that went missing off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin

PHOTO COUTESY : MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME ACADEMY
Photo of Keith Griffin, 33, a 2005 graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay. Griffin is among 33 crew members on board a cargo ship that went missing off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — U.S. safety investigators say the U.S. Navy soon will set out to find the cargo ship sunk in Hurricane Joaquin and locate a data recorder critical to determining why it went down.

National Transportation Safety Board vice chair Bella Dinh-Zarr told reporters Thursday the Navy would use sonar and other means to find the 790-foot El Faro on the sea floor. The ship sank in about 15,000 feet of water Oct. 1 with 33 people aboard east of the Bahamas.

The Coast Guard called off a search for possible survivors Wednesday.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduates Keith Griffin, 33, and Jeffrey Mathias, 44, were among the crew.

Griffin was a native of Winthrop and graduated from the Academy in 2005. Mathias was from Kingston and graduated in 1996.

Dinh-Zarr said assuming the ship is found, Navy remote-controlled diving vehicles would be able to bring the data recorder to the surface. Dinh-Zarr said there was no definite timetable yet for the Navy work to begin.

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay has been training cadets for careers in the Merchant Marine for more than a century.

It’s one of six state maritime academies in the U.S. that felt an intimate connection to the disaster that struck the El Faro.

The school’s president, Rear Adm. Francis McDonald, says students are saddened but not deterred by the tragedy.

Five graduates of the Maine Maritime Academy also were lost.

The state academies are little known to the public at large but their graduates support the commercial maritime industry around the world.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, differs from the state schools because it is a federal service academy.

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